CPT Robert Simson

Death 12 Feb 1901 (aged 81)
Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Burial Colma, San Mateo County, California, USA
Plot Section C Tier 332 Lot 1617
Memorial ID 131928256 · View Source
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Name: Robert Simson
Birth Date: 13 Sep 1819
Birthplace: Irvine, Ayr, Scotland
Christening: South Ayrshire
Father's Name: James Simson
Mother's Name: Ann Forbes (Ancestry.com: Ann Ferbis)
source: image: Old Parish Records Births & Christenings of the Established Church of Scotland, Scotlandspeople.gov.uk.

born: Sept 13, 1819
place of birth: Dumfries
source: Certificate of Death, Oakland Public Library

immigration: 1820, in the country 79 years
source: 1900 US census

education: graduate, Columbia College New York; Yale College law school.
source: obituary, San Francisco Call, Volume 87, Number 75, 13 February 1901

occupation: Lawyer

military service: U. S. Army 1846-1848, rank, Captain, "...and then entered the United States army, securing in the Mexican War from actual merit, his rank of Captain."
source: obituary, San Francisco Call, Volume 87, Number 75, 13 February 1901

military reserve: Cal. National Guard 1866-1868, rank, Colonel, "Governor Low has commissioned the following officers: Robert Simson, Colonel, First Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade..." source: Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 32, Number 4851, 15 October 1866
"First Regiment of the Infantry, vice Simson resigned..." [his commission] March 5, 1868. Source: Daily Alta California, Volume 20, Number 6567, 8 March 1868.

married: November 7, 1866, "At Grace Cathedral, 7th inst., by Rt. Rev. Bishop Kip, Janet Reading, daughter of Major P. B. Reading, to Robert Simson."
source: The Daily Alta California, Volume 18, Number 6086, November 9, 1866

married: November 17, 1866, "In Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, Nov. 17th by Right Rev. Bishop Kip, Robert Simson to Jeannette A. Reading."
source: Red Bluff Independent, Number 21, 21 November 1866

issue: Leslie Simson, born October 8, 1867 San Francisco.

notoriety: From December 8, 1885 to March 29, 1886, Robert Simson was at the center of a high profile probate case concerning the valuable estate of his former business partner, N. W. Chittenden. The will, a suspected fraud, left all to Simson, and was famously contested by the east coast family of the deceased.
source: S.F. Daily Alta California, Volume 39, Number 13041 27 Nov 1885 & Volume 40, Number 13311, 5 Feb 1886; Number 13364, 30 March 1886; Number 13366, 1 April 1886 & Number 13399, 4 May 1886.

business venture: Simson partnered with brother-in-law, Richard W. Reading in 1887 to found The Oakland and San Joaquin Railroad Company. On May 1, 1895, they incorporated The Alameda and San Joaquin Railroad to serve the coal mines of the San Francisco & San Joaquin Coal Company at Corral Hollow. It was sold to the Western Pacific Railway, July 25, 1903.
source: Railway World, Volume 31, pub. 1887; and Wikipedia.

died: February 12, 1901 at Laguna Valley in Alameda County. cause of death:"Senility", with vascular disease of the heart contributing. J. Hamilton Todd, physician. source: Certificate of Death, Oakland Public Library

funeral: February 14, 1901, "The funeral will take place at 12:30 on Thursday from the Church of the Advent."
(of Brooklyn Township, defunct)
source: San Francisco Call, Volume 87, Number 75, 13 February 1901, Wednesday.

cremated: San Francisco IOOF Crematorium, February 14th. source: "IOOF crematory register, 1901", Collections of the California Genealogical Society.

interred (ashes stored): IOOF Cemetery, Section C Tier 332 Lot 1617, February 14th, Albert Brown, undertaker. source: "IOOF register of internment, 1901, Feb.", Collections of the California Genealogical Society.

cremains: "TRANS'FR'D Oct 8th 1901" source: "IOOF index cremations, 1895-1905, page 180, SI", Collections of the California Genealogical Society.


pioneer celebrity: Robert Simson and the Webb expedition to California, 1849, was documented in the writings of John Woodhouse Audubon, "Illustrated notes of an expedition through Mexico and California"; and in the diary of Jacob H. Bachman.

"The company was organized in January 1849 in New York City. Start-up funding was supplied by Daniel C. Kingsland, Ambrose Kingsland and Cornelius Sutton. They drew up company papers and rules of conduct, and 98 men were selected to join. The leader, Colonel Henry Livingston Webb, was apparently a friend of the benefactors, and was chosen for that reason. He had served in the Mexican War and was familiar with northern Mexico, which is the reason the party followed such an unusual overland route to California. Audubon was chosen as second in command."

"The group left New York 8 February 1849, took a steamer to Philadelphia and Baltimore, and then a train to Cumberland. From there, they traveled in fourteen stagecoaches to Pittsburgh, then went by boat down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. A steamer took them across the Gulf of Mexico to the mouth of the Rio Grande, where they arrived 13 March 1849. A number of deaths to cholera, theft of some of the company's money, and leadership problems almost forced the trip to be aborted. Colonel Webb and about a dozen others decided not to stay with the party. Audubon became leader of those remaining, and they set out up the Rio Grande. Traveling across northern Mexico and into Arizona, the party finally reached San Diego 1 November 1849. From there, some went by ship to San Francisco, while the rest traveled overland through the desert and San Joaquin Valley to the gold fields."
source: California Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 4

Family Members

Gravesite Details Cenotaph. person in possession of cremains unknown

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  • Maintained by: Melinda Kashuba
  • Originally Created by: SB°ancestry
  • Added: 26 Jun 2014
  • Find a Grave Memorial 131928256
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for CPT Robert Simson (13 Sep 1819–12 Feb 1901), Find a Grave Memorial no. 131928256, citing Greenlawn Memorial Park, Colma, San Mateo County, California, USA ; Maintained by Melinda Kashuba (contributor 48758928) .